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Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   313
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 13, 2007
Publisher   Shambhala
ISBN  1590305272  
EAN  9781590305270  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Applying his highly acclaimed integral approach, the author formulates a theory of spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity--including the revolutions in science and culture--while incorporating the essential insights of the great religions. Reprint.

Publishers Description
"Integral Spirituality" is being widely called the most important book on spirituality in our time.
Applying his highly acclaimed integral approach, Ken Wilber formulates a theory of spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity--including the revolutions in science and culture--while incorporating the essential insights of the great religions. He shows how spirituality today combines the enlightenment of the East, which excels at cultivating higher states of consciousness, with the enlightenment of the West, which offers developmental and psychodynamic psychology. Each contributes key components to a more integral spirituality.
On the basis of this integral framework, a radically new role for the world's religions is proposed. Because these religions have such a tremendous influence on the worldview of the majority of the earth's population, they are in a privileged position to address some of the biggest conflicts we face. By adopting a more integral view, the great religions can act as facilitators of human development: from magic to mythic to rational to pluralistic to integral--and to a global society that honors and includes all the stations of life along the way.

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More About Ken Wilber, Kamini Banga, Robert Gunther, Susan E. Rivers, Nicole A. Elbertson, Marta Rondon & David Mungello

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Ken Wilber is the author of over twenty books. He is the founder of Integral Institute, a think-tank for studying integral theory and practice, with outreach through local and online communities such as Integral Education Network, Integral Training, and Integral Spiritual Center.

Ken Wilber currently resides in Boulder Denver, in the state of Colorado.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( W ) > Wilber, Ken   [30  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The book to begin with for Integral Theory  Sep 4, 2008
Ken Wilber has significantly improved his clarity in explaining most of the Integral Model details. He has especially improved in detailing how individuals at different stages perceive different aspects of reality.

Wilber goes into further depth regarding interior/exterior aspects of the quadrants, which is not his usual style, and readers will find this expanded explanation interesting but slightly more difficult to grasp (he needs more practice explaining this one clearly).

What is radically important about this book from his others is the focus on the shadow-self and its role in state/stage development. The book also delves into paradigm shifts more than the other books, introducing the concept of the I-God, We-God and It-God experiences - thus combining both state-experience with relative quadrant.

This remains one of my favorite books by Ken Wilber to date. Even so, as order of preference I'm reserving my 5-star for A Sociable God.
pages missing  Jul 12, 2008
Just bought a copy and pages 197 through 228 are missing. Clearly a publisher's mistake as the book is otherwise bound like any other new copy. this site's return policy does not cover shipping expense for returns even when the product is defective. This is not fair to the buyer.
Integral What whut whut?  Jul 3, 2008
Bias is a wonderful thing,especially coming from a man who is bias comes from the religion of no religion, or buddhism. Of all the books I've ever got a bad vibe from it was this book. I love his Integral Psychology because its right on! But I read through this book, Integral Spirituality, and like anything over thought through the thinking process, it lacks feeling, emotion. And I just skimmed the book enough to see that detachment actually yeilds a catuerized over intellectualized summation of an attempt to unify points of view into one great truth.Thich Nhat Hanh has spelled out better clearer on the subject than anything Wilber attempts to tack on the the word "Integral" too, suffering a Matrix trilogy effect to the word, both demeaning the meaning of the universe in what it is to be integral.

Books on spirituality, whether its buddhism, taoism, zen, judaism, paganis, wicca, christianity, islam, mormonism, etc, all often have more than a common thread to unite them. They all recognize that living power of faith and the energy of the soul are united in the same great truth. Service, magnification, edification, books that keep the intellectual and the spiritual tied and bound to the emotional roots of why it is we need religion.

Its not about power, dominion, leadership, we need each other, we need commonality in things which need to know and understand in the glory of God. If a book that is dead, lifeless of this feeling, then it does not have the Spirit of God to have the power to be integral. It just becomes a word. And words offer the means to meaning, but words are also perspectives. I thought Wilber knew that?

An overview of some upgrades Wilber makes in this book   Mar 17, 2008

Ken Wilber's book, Integral Spirituality, has some new insights to offer, including an upgrade of his four-quadrant model. Taking into account that a holon in any of the four quadrants can be seen from the outside, or experienced as--or as if--from within, this gives a total of eight perspectives or zones.

The Four Quadrants with eight primordial perspectives, or hori-zones of arising, and their respective methodologies:

Upper Left
["I" inside: zone #1]
outside: zone #2

Upper Right
["it" inside: zone # 5]
outside: zone #6

Lower Left
["we" inside: zone #3]
outside: zone #4

Lower Right
["its" inside: zone #7]
[social autopoiesis]
outside: zone #8
systems theory

Although there is some overlap in these zones, a point to notice is what all this reveals. Eight zones, each with its own methodology, yield eight supplementary perspectives which, when integrated, give a more comprehensive revelation about the complexity of human nature and the nature. A parallel could be drawn with quantum physics as it delves within the atom to discover the beauty and the complexities of the particulate subatomic realm.

Another novelty that Ken offers is his idea that, to talk meaningfully about any actuality in the universe, you must first specify what he calls its Kosmic Address, and this you do by identifying the actuality's "altitude" and "perspective." Indeed, the definition is given by this formula:

Kosmic Address = altitude + perspective

where altitude means level of development and perspective where it is situated in the four quadrants. The address can be made even more specific by also identifying lines, states, and types. Thus: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types are the basic five elements of any comprehensive or integral map. Using the notation of Integral Math, Wilber (on p. 265) gives an example of how to formulate a Kosmic Address:

"For a particular knowing subject (i.e., a holon with quadrants), this might be: researcher John Doe is coming from a 3rd-person perspective (i.e., using Q/3-perspective or it-perspective), altitude Level 5 or orange (L5 or L/o), line/cognitive (l/c), State/gross (S/g), type/masculine (t/m), all of which is (Q/3, L/5, l/c, S/g, t/m). John Doe might be researching (via quadrivia) an object in the LR that possesses a solid state (S/s), clade line homo erectus (symbol: he; thus: l/he), female type (t/f), as it is a member of the global ecosystem, colloquially known as Gaia (whose full contours don't emerge until altitude 8). This might be indicated with the sentence: John Doe (Q/3, L/5, l/c, S/g, t/m) is focusing his attention on female homo erectus in its interaction with Gaia (Q/4, L/8, 1/he, S/s, t/f) Generically, the Kosmic address of this interaction is:

Subject(Q/3, L/5, l/c, S/g, t/m) × Object(Q/4, L/8, 1/he, S/s, t/f) . . ."

Some other areas discussed in the book:


A central point for Wilber is the postmodern revolution which brought to light the pivotal role that intersubjectivity plays in the workings of consciousness. Phenomena do not just pop into consciousness fully formed, but are the products of vast intersubjective networks such as linguistic systems, cultural backgrounds, and structures of consciousness. This is the realm of the Lower Left quadrant, zones #3 and #4. These intersubjective factors simply cannot be seen by direct introspection or meditation. What is needed is an outside approach to interior phenomena that allows one to step back far enough for them to begin to come into focus. One such approach is structuralism (or genealogy) and with this zone-#4 perspective new developmental structures come into view. This is why Buddhism, through centuries and even millennia of meditation, completely missed this aspect of consciousness. Although the Buddhists have a highly sophisticated understanding of the phenomenology of zone #1, they are--like anyone else who has missed the postmodern revolution--essentially blind to the many constitutive factors arising from the Lower Left quadrant.

A problem here is that pathologies can infect this process so that, rather than truth, lies and distortions are delivered to consciousness. Another consequence, as Wilber put it:

"Once you learn any developmental scheme, such as SD, a peculiar fact starts to become apparent. You can be listening to somebody who is coming from, say, the multiplistic level (orange altitude), and it is obvious that this person is not thinking of these ideas himself; almost everything he says is completely predictable. He never studied Clare Graves or any other developmentalist, and yet there it is, predictable value after predictable value. He has no idea that he is the mouthpiece of this structure, a structure he doesn't even know is there. It almost seems as if it is not he who is speaking, but the orange structure itself that is speaking through him--this vast intersubjective network is speaking through him.

"Worse, he can introspect all he wants, and yet he still won't realize this. He is simply a mouthpiece for a structure that is speaking through him. He thinks he is original; he thinks he controls the contents of his thoughts; he thinks he can introspect and understand himself; he thinks he has free will--and yet he's just a mouthpiece. He is not speaking, he is being spoken." (p. 277)

Ken Gets Personal with God

This came as a surprise, but a welcome one. In Wilber's words: "Spirit in 2nd-person is the great You, the great Thou, the radiant, living, all-giving God before whom I must surrender in love and devotion and sacrifice and release. In the face of Spirit in 2nd-person, in the face of the God who is All Love, I can have only one response: to find God in this moment, I must love until it hurts, love to infinity, love until there is no me left anywhere, only this radiant living Thou who bestows all glory, all goods, all knowledge, all grace . . ."

Philosopher Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000), who has been hailed as the Einstein of religious thought, consistently presented a case for God not as impersonal or as the unmoved mover but as the Personality most rich in relations. He liked to quote Rabbi Heschel that "God is the most moved mover." Even as early as his Harvard dissertation, he was saying, "Person as a legal concept is a highly abstract term, but personality in the end is the richest and most concrete of all ideas." And then in his autobiography, The Darkness and the Light, 67 years later: "I held that the idea of a personal God was not simply an illusion, that personality is our best sample of reality and value and could not be simply set aside in trying to conceive the cosmic, universal, and supreme form of existence."

The Wilber-Combs Lattice

See Figure 4.1 on page 90.

The lattice correlates emerging but then enduring vertical stages of development with momentary horizontal states. The point to notice here, as Wilber says, "is that a person at any stage can have a peak experience of a gross, subtle, causal, or nondual state. But a person will interpret that state according to the stage they are at."

The Sliding Scale of Enlightenment

Wilber poses a question that I've wondered about: what does Enlightenment--total Enlightenment with a capital "E"--what does this mean in an evolving universe where
creative advances accumulate in an ever-increasing totality? Wilber's answer:

"Enlightenment is the realization of oneness with all states and all structures [or stages] that are in existence at any given time." (p. 241)

If you will refer back to the Wilber-Combs Lattice, you will see that this entails both vertical and horizontal Enlightenment. This means that the Buddha's Enlightenment, over two millennia ago, was a complete Enlightenment at that time, but that it is only partial in comparison with what is possible now, for there are structures of consciousness now that were just not available then. The world moves on, continuously.

Enlightenment also has a twofold aspect in terms of the Buddhist distinction of Form and Emptiness, "where Emptiness is timeless, unborn, unmanifest, and not evolving, and Form is manifest, temporal, and evolving." The gift of Emptiness is freedom while that of Form is fullness.

Wilber takes evolution seriously. The structures of consciousness that unfold are not "pre-existing ontological structures in some eternally fixed Great Chain; they evolved and were laid down by factors in all four quadrants as they developed (or tetra-evolved) over time and became Kosmic habits of humanity, habits available to all future humans . . . That's why evolution shows so many fits and starts; it's a creative artwork, not an intelligent engineering product (because if so, that Engineer is an idiot)."

One thing you can always count on in a Ken Wilber book is that it will provide plenty of synaptic sizzle.

Review by Hyatt Carter, author of the book, Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel. Chapter three of this book explores Wilber's Four Quadrants and is entitled "Ken Wilber's Mandalic Model of Reality."

Ken's worst book yet  Jan 18, 2008
Two years ago I opened up Ken Wilber's "Sex, Ecology and Spirituality" (SES) and was floored by its profundity. It gave me a powerful new framework through which to understand the world, and I proceeded to read another half dozen of his books, hungry for more of his ontological and psycho-spiritual insight. It's been a downhill journey, and I think with "Integral Spirituality" it's hit bottom. I've never bothered to review a book but feel compelled to now because this book was such a waste of time. I was so disappointed that I won't bother reading anything he publishes in the future, with the possible exception of volumes 2 and 3 of his Kosmos trilogy, if they ever make it to print.

Ken Wilber has been publishing several books a year and at this point they're all more or less regurgitations and summaries of one another, and "Integral Spirituality" is a case in point. It seems that his greatest contributions were presented a decade ago in his magnum opus SES. I get the feeling he's now publishing books not based on their own merit but rather solely on his past reputation. He doesn't seem to have many new ideas to contribute, so I can't help but suspect he's publishing this garbage just to make money. The book reads like one big plug for his "Integral Life Practice" modules and integral this and that .[...]. It's borderline offensive. I want my money back.

This book is a real shame and disappointment because it's a further watering down of his earlier work that is truly brilliant.

If you're interested in Ken Wilber's philosophy, read SES. In my very humble opinion it's one of the most important books of the 20th century. Forget about most of the rest.


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